Madam Ambassador for the EEA and Norway Grant
Mrs. Ingrid Schulerud,
We, Fórum Cidadania Lx, a group comprising diverse members of civil society concerned about Lisbon's heritage, would like to draw your attention to the fact that EEA Grants are sponsoring a project for the Jewish Museum in Alfama, the city's historical heart.
Regrettably, the proposal recently presented to Lisboans by the project's author, Ms Graca Bachmann, would set a dangerous precedent, while demonstrating a complete disregard for an immeasurable cultural heritage that now stands threatened and is in danger of being destroyed.
The small square, site of the proposed museum, is home to one of most magnificent baroque churches in Lisbon, which survived the earthquake of 1755. The square has numerous ancient town houses and displays a harmony that is easily identified with the spirit and soul of the city.
The construction of a new building in that location is already regarded by many people as aggressive and intrusive.
We would like to point out that we have no objection to the construction or establishment of a new museum dedicated to the rich and important legacy of the Jewish people. It is a common history, our history. In fact, we believe that such a museum in Lisbon has been long overdue. The city, and Alfama in particular, would benefit very much from the new museum.
However, we would like to see the project's design changed, so that, while providing a new cultural facility, it fully respects the sensitivities and the heritage environment of Alfama.
Furthermore, we believe that the EEA Grants should not contribute to the destruction of a historical district, as it goes against the spirit and understanding of common practices on the preservation of cultural sites. We deeply believe that the project, in its current design, does not represent the values and principles of the EEA Grants, the Jewish Quarters Network, and the city of Lisbon.
We, therefore, kindly ask you to appeal to the author and all concerned to review and amend the project's design.
Thank you very much.
Paulo Ferrero, Fernando Jorge, Miguel de Sepúlveda Velloso, Mariana Ferreira de Carvalho, Jorge Pinto, Fernando Silva Grade, Fátima Castanheira, Miguel Atanásio Carvalho, Rui Martins, Pedro de Sousa, Miguel Lopes